Your thoughts on BA’s new Club Suite, a seat plan and first flights confirmed

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Not surprisingly, our two articles on the new British Airways Club Suite yesterday attracted a lot of attention.  You can read our two part Club Suite review here and here.

I thought it would be interesting to look at some of your feedback in our comments section, since HFP readers have generally been strong critics of the existing Club World arrangement.

Your thoughts were generally very positive.  What intrigued me was that a BA insider dropped me a note to say that the original plan – dropped two years ago on cost grounds – was even better and would have blown even Qatar’s Qsuite out of the water.  Whether that is true or not, and whether the initial plans would ever have been affordable or be able to be engineered, is a different question ….

Here is a new picture which gives the best feel so far of what you will actually get:

New British Airways Club Suite launched

One thing I didn’t mention yesterday is that there are no real ‘bad’ seats with the Club Suite layout.  The need to pay £60 – £90 to reserve a Club World seat, if you have no status, should no longer be necessary.  You can’t easily chat to your partner if you’re sat next to them anyway, so if you end up being sat further apart it won’t be a disaster.  You should also find it fairly easy to find someone willing to swap seats to help you, if needed, as the seats are all very similar.

Which flights will Club Suite be on?

Club Suite is now in the British Airways timetable.  You are looking for these flights, which do not show an aircraft type – you can usually click on the flight number on ba.com to bring up the aircraft type, but for these flights it is not there:

  • Toronto from 1st October – BA92/93
  • Dubai from 8th October – BA106/107

The Madrid test flights won’t be timetabled for a while.

What is the Club Suite seat map?

Yesterday I suggested that we had a 48 + 8 two cabin layout.  It is actually 44 + 12.  Whether it feels a bit dorm-like or not remains to be seen.

This is the seat map, click to enlarge slightly:

British Airways Club Suite business class seat plan

What did HFP readers think of Club Suite?

Here are a few quotes:

“It’s a huge step up for BA and I for one (and being a CW hater) will welcome the change. Adding a door does nothing for me its simply something else for BA to break and not repair ….. Direct aisle access is the key and that is delivered. The rest of the service now needs to match starting with grumpy unprofessional crew who talk all night and stomp up and down the aisle like flatted footed oafs.  Food then becomes important and IFE content. I am less concerned about alcohol as I find I drink less and less on board now.  So, 10 out of 10 for effort, roll out of 4-5 years I think will be an issue. Just how long can they keep flogging the 747 on a route like JFK when these seats are flying to other places.”

“It looks amazing!  *searches for business redemption chart while rubbing hands together in glee*”

“This seat is amazing! You’ll never please everyone with everything but it certainly pleases me.”

“Wow is all I can say, This looks class leading.”

“After endless justifiable grumbling about CW over the years, we really should give them credit for this. Let’s just hope they don’t drag their feet too many years in bringing it to the wider fleet…”

“Very good effort. Almost on par with Q Suites which is much better than my expectations were for this seat!  Lets hope that they now fix the onboard service.”

“The seat belt is a positive for me, didn’t like the bumbag belt on Etihad especially when trying to sleep.  Looking forward to trying this out.”

“Looks good as long as they clean it well.”

“CW feels like a dorm of you are in an aisle seat with someone sleeping next to you just across the aisle, with no barriers and no privacy. I can’t see that being a problem with reverse herringbone seating, no matter how big the cabin is. Well done BA. Maybe they have aspirations to become World Class again. Let’s hope so.”

“Wow! I really wasn’t expecting them to push the boat out but credit where it’s due, this is a great effort. Sadly by 2022, who knows what new creations ME airlines will have but it’s still a big step up for folks based in the UK.”

“I still think BA are behind. Poor lounges, some old airplanes, many of them dirty and poor food and wine although BA are slowly improving on the food front but not on wines, like when they ran out of a white on our recent trip from Chile with our first meal!!!  Crew generally are better on BA but not all the time.  For aircraft seating, AA and QR are better in J and for food, QR is miles ahead along with any time dining and good selection of wines as well as pyjamas even in J. CX has also fell behind on food. CX are also way ahead on lounges along with QF and QR not far behind. Theses are only OneWorld ones. I understand it is a personal choice however.  But hopefully with these new seats and the proposed DO&CO food by 2020, BA might make up some ground.”

So …. in general, you’re happy.  Now all we can do is wait for the Madrid test flights to appear in the timetable for August!

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Comments

  1. Any news on which Madrid flight the A350 is likely to
    be on yet ?

    • I was told 06.20 but not timetabled yet and could change.

      • BA currently operate a 777 from LHR-MAD on BA460 @ 13:20 and the return.

        I don’t for a second doubt your info that the A350 would be the 06:20 flight but would BA fly two wide body flights per day? This is in addition to Iberia using one daily too.

        My guess would be they switch the 777 for the A350.

        • The issue with the early 6:20 departure is that this rotation used to be operated by 767. Now it’s operated by 321 (if i’m not mistaken), so cargo is an issue. Remember IB has a rather large departure wave to long haul destinations, including South, Central, North America and Asia. I guess they see this as an issue. I wouldn’t be surprised if this rotation sees a long haul plane in the longer run.

        • courtster says:

          I think the first rotation was a bit of a stretch when the 777 first went on the schedule, the birds were only just getting back from their early long haul arrivals so subs or delays were common. Making it lunchtime meant there would be more available aircraft and would still still back in time to do operate an evening long haul.

          Ive booked a pre-emptive outbound on the 777 at 0620 is a bit early for me with a return on the 1055 with a 241 that was expiring in August. Fingres crossed! Worst case is I’ll get a couple of days to look round Segovia.

        • Doubt it. They MUST run the 777 for cargo reasons. If there is a problem with the A350 and the 777 is doing something else, BA is stuffed. Better to keep the 777 where it is to guarantee the cargo flow and then drop the A350 in and out as required.

        • Fair enough Rob. For now I’ve got both flights booked via Avios to Madrid so will cancel/change if need be, also got Toronto booked. I do like the “BA is stuffed” part though, although I don’t think they are 😉

  2. Mikeact says:

    If only BA would introduce a non stop service to Oz, we’d be more than happy in these seats. As it is we’re going to try the Qantas non stop to Perth early next year. Their Club seats seem to be very positive…we will see.

    • There are conflicting reports about how well this service is doing.

      • If they could squeeze the extra mileage to get to Melbourne or Sydney I’d imagine they’d do better. Perth is nice but many will then still end up with a very long internal flight to the East coast.

    • Nick_C says:

      At present, there isn’t a plane that can make it non stop from London to Sydney – at least not if you want to carry passengers and luggage! Qantas are committed to introducing non stop to Sydney oce a suitable plane becomes available. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45568179

      Personally, no matter how comfortable, I’m not sure I would want to be on a plane for 20hrs. I’d rather have a break, spend a few hours in the lounge, have a shower and a shave (etc)!

      Not sure how the economics of carrying a double set of crew stacks up.

  3. Michael says:

    My reaction is that these new seats/suites look fantastic! The VAST majority of people would be absolutely happy to fly in business class, no matter what, so for people to sit and complain is a bit boring. It looks like a dorm, so what, close the door 🙂 If you hate BA so much, fly one of the ME carriers and connect, easily solved. For the rest of us in the real world, I’ll be over the moon the first time I get to try the new seat! Well done BA

    • Hear hear, well said.

    • Peter 64K says:

      +1

      • +1 and I wonder how many of the moaners actually pay for their own flights

        • Someone who pays £1500 of their own money in a BA sale has more skin in the game than someone whose employer pays £4000 for a fully flex flight.

          I’m still waiting for BAEC to realise this.

        • Doug M says:

          Don’t you think they do. I think BAEC rewards the casual business flyer quite well, relatively easy to get status and reap the benefits of that.

        • Nick_C says:

          “Someone who pays £1500 of their own money in a BA sale has more skin in the game than someone whose employer pays £4000 for a fully flex flight.”

          Totally agree. If I’m paying to fly J, then its AA. If I’m on a redemption, its BA.

          When the new Club Suites roll out to TATL, I will happily pay to fly J on BA. BA have some fabulous cabin crew – currently their biggest asset. Plus if the flight back is delayed, I’m covered by EU261 on BA but not on AA.

          • Definitely agree on that latter point – got stuck with a 14h rolling overnight delay with AA and only got a handful of points.

  4. Have to say this is a lot better than I expected this would be! This with Do&Co catering makes this actually really nice proposition… Wow – yes I can’t believe I just all that!

  5. Andrew says:

    Just one toilet!

    • ChrisC says:

      More toilets at the front – just not shown on the truncated seat map!

      Going on this map there is no galley either lol

  6. Meant to comment yesterday but got pulled into a work situation. Undoubtedly a good effort here by BA. Looking forward to flying their A350 on one of my regular Dubai trips.

    Main concern is their ability to keep the cabin clean. In my experience, most times on F, there is invariably someone else’s detritus to clean up: blanket or pyjamas or slippers. One time I boarded a day flight to Asia, was allocated seat 1A. The seat was littered with breadcrumbs and pieces of a croissant, most likely from the breakfast served on the incoming flight. As I proceeded to clean the seat and put the crumbs into a folded tissue for disposal, I noticed that someone was standing behind me. Thinking that I might have been blocking the aisle and preventing a fellow passenger from going to their seat, I turned around to apologise. Only to find that it was a member of BA’s ground crew in a high viz jacket. By this time I had finished cleaning the seat. He asked me if everything was OK and hadn’t offered to help or have the seat cleaned! 😀 BA should pay me for the numerous times I have cleaned their F seats! Won’t hold my breath though. 🙂

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Perhaps its me being an bit OCD but I wipe down most surfaces with a wipe when I’m flying, regardless of how clean it does or doesn’t look.

  7. I would love to try one of these new seats one day, but actually I love the current CW. I’m only 5′ 2″ so the whole experience for me is one of being cocooned in my own (good amount of) personal space. It’s the service that really makes it or breaks it for me. Hoping the crews on this year’s J flights match the fabulous ones on our LHR-IAD and BOS-LHR last year, and not our LHR-GCM (and back) where the crew seemed to be taking their duties as some sort of punishment!

  8. No Bits today and BA-related – anyone managed to use a Lloyds voucher in the past with a domestic connection on Flybe? Obviously no upgrade possible but wondered if even do-able? Trying to make a booking that has long haul availability but no BA domestic connection available. If pay for separate ticket then not protected for misconnect or through checked bag.

    • Sadly not, the voucher clearly states BA mental only. Best option is to fly BA mental down the day before perhaps.

      • Yeah that was my thinking too, BA Twitter been less than useless. May end up opting for different destination, very frustrating they don’t open up connecting flights in this situation.

  9. Pangolin says:

    Any news on whether they’re going to retrofit the A380s?

  10. Ot but no bits today! Has anyone ever used curve to but foreign exchange it’s linked to virgin Atlantic card currently slightly worried about fees etc

    • Jovanna says:

      I used my Curve card to withdraw €150 (+ €2.50 ATM charge) on the 15 March, linked to the Virgin Black card. Notification from Curve said that was £130.07. That’s showing on my Virgin account. Nothing else, as yet.

  11. David Langhorne says:

    I don’t know about you, but I really object to be expected to pay to reserve seats in Club World (£60 – £90) over and above already expensive fares even if part paid in Avios. I have even been asked if I had paid to reserve seats when travelling in 1st Class. I do like to speak to my travelling companion without getting up. Michael O’Leary must be proud.

    • It’s annoying but I guess if seat selection was free then people with status would complain about their status being devalued.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      BA do not charge fees for choosing your seat in First but some seats are reserved for Gold Members

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